British rockers return to form
22 years after their formation, English rockers The Coral have become stalwarts of modern rock. Their latest release Move Through The Dawn retains the psychedelic, transcendental tonality The Coral have become known for, while effectively branching out to create an album with a vast sonic palette that will engage and challenge listeners.
Move Through the Dawn opens with two stock sounding Coral tunes, “Eyes Like Pearls” and “Reaching Out for a Friend.” Both are carried by a catchy groove, up-tempo beat and a prominent keyboard melody. Singer James Skelly’s vocals are a continuous strength throughout the record, as his voice is clear, articulate and melodic.
The first two tracks rely on happy sounding chord progressions that occasionally take stark minor turns, adding a layer of darkness to these catchy pop songs that reflect the sadness in the lyrics. Skelly asks the listener in the first verse of “Eyes Like Pearls,” “What do you dream when the world is on fire / And you’re drifting through time / In the space where you lie / Calling to me through pain and desire.”
“Sweet Release” is an excellent change of pace, leading in with a twangy, distorted guitar riff reminiscent of Greta Van Fleet. “She’s A Runaway” retains The Coral’s psychedelic sound in the form of a heavily modulated guitar riff while bringing a slight Country-Western touch. Around 1:53, the listener is treated to a haunting guitar solo, followed by an outro repeating the refrain “It’s too late / She’s a runaway.”
“Love or Solution” stands out by mixing sweeping synthesizer sounds with a Southern rock guitar riff, a driving beat and a full-sounding chorus. This song finds our narrator questioning his motives in his romantic life: “Is it really love or just a solution? Do I really need it / Is it just cause I can?”
“Outside My Window” and “Stormbreaker” showcase Skelly and Paul Molloy’s guitar chops. “Outside My Window” opens with a gnarly, unrefined guitar riff in the Arctic Monkeys vein. “Stormbreaker,” one of the true standouts of Move Through the Dawn, is built around loud, fuzzy guitars that evoke thunder. Bassist Paul Duffy complements this sound perfectly with a sweet, melodic bass line that holds the rhythm section together, occasionally poking through the mix to grab the listener’s attention. The outro descends into distorted, sloppy madness fantastically. The result is a song that sounds like “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers with Tom Morello on guitar.
The album concludes with “After The Fair,” a somber, stripped down acoustic tune that effectively contrasts with “Stormbreaker.” “After The Fair” is a perfect microcosm of Move Through the Dawn: a beautifully bittersweet song being pulled in opposite directions by its pretty melody and its heartbreaking lyrics.